A few years is a long time in any arena – especially when trying to pursue an ambition.
That also applies to studying, and to the changes that happen en route. This blog was started whilst the writer was studying the GDL at BPP – and much has changed for the writer since.
Getting into law is very tricky: the student needs that first step, that first internship, that first work experience placement, that first secretarial job in a law firm. From that, a legal CV and experience will build up. The student will eventually be hired as a trainee lawyer, and from there qualify. However, the aspiring lawyer needs that lucky break first – the lack of which is the downfall of many aspiring lawyers.
The Law Ninja was lucky – and found just such an internship at a national firm. It was fascinating work, one day a week, working on real family and immigration cases. From there, the writer has a profound loathing of the inherant unfairness of the family law system, the heavy handed actions of local councils against hard pressed families, and the pronouncements of the Family Law Courts devoid of any empathy, concern or understanding of the lives of the families that the Family Division often damages. The writer equally has a profound interest in the Immigration Tribunals, and the simplistic legal system that is not fit for the modern day complex world of mass refugees, human rights, and the Dublin III agreement. However, the system and those in it do the very best they can for those seeking asylum under an imperfect system. Both of those, however, are subjects for other posts.
The Law Ninja was very encouraged by the solicitors he was working for, to the extend that those solicitors urged him to obtain his Immigration Caseworker’s certification. The writer was very interested, but funding, the enemy of every student, prevented him from doing so.
At the same time, the writer was still working. It was while getting great exposure to the law that he had a series of conversations with his manager, uncertain about future plans, opportunities and intentions. As an upshot of those conversations – Law Ninja was persuaded to abandon the law. After all, why take the financial and career risk of taking the law further when stability and opportunities beckon in the company and sector that is well known already? Why attempt further legal studies and exams when offered the much desired chance of management and responsibility?
Persuaded to stay working in events, the Law Ninja wound up his fascinating time at the law firm. It was touching that the solicitors there were sorry to see him go, and advised that he should carry on in the legal sector. It was not to be. Exchanging the uncertainty and risk of the law – the writer stayed exactly where he was.
After several months, with tort law, the actus reus and mens rea of criminal law, and the complexities of LPMPA (1989) but a distant memory – things changed. The management opportunities and career development promised never materialised. Indeed, others were appointed to such roles and encouraged to further their industry knowledge – whilst the manager in question fully knew that that was just what the writer was after. Indeed, the workplace dynamics have become such in recent months that it is seemingly the case that a wonderful place to work had become anything but. For the once very happy team, for those that remain, it is seemingly the case that much of that stems from an apparent sudden change in management style – but we could be wrong.
Not only that, but as the events operations expanded, the nature of working there also altered. For a (short) while, as the department grew and grew, material and equipment arrived in greater quantities. Having to store tables, chairs, big projector screens and similar in limited spaces, and having to move such equipment very regularly, led to many situations where an accident at work was highly likely. Luckily there were no accidents; otherwise the management would have had to have dealt with at least one workplace accident claim for their failure (implied under law) to provide a workplace that was adequately safe, and where all reasonable precautions had been taken. Fortunately, sense soon prevailed, and more storage space was found. Amongst other changes, that made the workplace safer, in line with the obligations on employers regarding health and safety at work.
The Law Ninja has now realised over the last year that sometimes it is easy to listen to the wrong people. Not everyone has your best interests at heart – and not everyone will be encouraging of your dreams and endeavours. It is only too easy to listen and agree with those who, for whatever reason, encourage you to stay where you are. It is easy to listen to those who reccommend stability and continuity as opposed to change, risk and advancement. When promised something definite and more immediate, as opposed to something more uncertain much later on, it is in many cases human nature to listen to the former. After all, to many people change is daunting – and often involves taking risks. Sometimes people might be jealous of such dreams, and seek to prevent you accomplishing them.
In many cases, it is not advisable to listen to those. Instead, listen to those who do encourage you. Listen to those who see your potential, and want you to nurture that. Listen to those who want you to take those risks, because those risks will lead to personal achievement and fulfilment.
After the last year, Law Ninja has realised that he should have listened to the solicitors – not the manager. It is easy to make such a mistake – but harder to adapt and learn from it. That also takes time – and the ability to embrace risk yet again.
The writer has now returned to studying law again, and is returning to attempting to working in the legal sector. Once again, promissory estoppel, personal injury law and Separation of Powers have been recalled from the dusty depths of memory in order to tackle the courses demanded by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).
And what of that place of work? Needless to say that having learned a lesson in loyalty and trust – the Law Ninja will be working there no longer. Further, to quote the immortal words of Robin Williams
“carpe diem: seize the day, boys” – and pursue your dreams.
With much gratitude and great affection to CD, AG & KB for much laughter and friendship over the last year or so